Posted by: sweeneyblog | September 21, 2012

Friday Odds and Ends – Pirates, Exposing the Excavator and Scoping

Hello Loyal Readers,

Lots of fun tidbits today so hold on to your hat, it’s going to be a wild ride.

1) First up, from the files of “Are they serious?” is this John Koster web-only ad that involves, well, a pirate. It sounds a little like when you were a teenager and your dad would try to crack a joke to your friends. It doesn’t quite work. It’s a little too long, a little too awkward, and a little too lacking in . . . funny.

Notice the only person who looks upbeat and positive in that ad? Suzan DelBene. Thank you for the name recognition!

2) A trustworthy source has confirmed the identity of the people behind the Whatcom Excavator. These so-called advocates of transparency, who I tussled with two weeks ago for their sub-par chart making skills, refuse to publicly identify who they are. If you are going to be talking politics in the public sphere, you should sign your name to it and stand behind it. Look at the top of my blog, what do you see? “Blog of J. Riley Sweeney.” It is disappointing that Ellen Baker, who writes and edits the Excavator, doesn’t have the courage to stand behind what she writes.

EDIT: In hindsight, it should have been obvious, considering the similarities between that horrible flowchart they posted recently and this one that NWCitizen covertly obtained in 2009, that they were both made with extra special-crazy sauce.

Chart first exposed on NWCitizen

3) The Gateway Pacific Terminal continues to weave its way through public process. Here’s an update from Matt Petryni with Power Past Coal: “The first major public comment period on the Gateway Pacific Terminal project application will open on Monday, September 24. During the public comment period, the co-lead agencies — the Army Corps of Engineers, Department of Ecology and Whatcom County — will accept written comments regarding the scope of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Agencies will accept public comment for 120 days, from September 24, 2012 to January 21, 2013. The first public hearing will be held in Bellingham, on Saturday, October 27, 2012, at Squalicum High School, 3773 East McLeod Road. It begins at 11:00 AM and ends at 3:00 PM.” You can read more about that here.

4) In a similar vein, Lummi Nation stepped up and voiced their opposition today against the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal. What makes this unusual, compared to some of the other groups that have spoken out against this project, is that Lummi Nation might have some legal leverage to oppose this project stemming from their water rights and a few other legal hooks. This could make for a very interesting legal struggle if it played out, but for now it seems they are content with merely adding their voice to the chorus of those opposing the project.

5) Finally, we have some updates about upcoming articles. I am still waiting on one more interview before I publish the wrongful termination at the Sheriff’s office article, but I did sit down with Dan Matthews again after the primary and got his thoughts on domestic violence, the state of his race against Rep. Larsen, and what he really thinks of Citizen’s United. Also, in the wake of my examination of Rep. Jason Overstreet’s record (which you really should read, if you haven’t yet,) I have a similar examination coming out for Rep. Vincent Buys this Wednesday (with Reps. Lytton, Morris and Sen. Ranker, in the following weeks).

That’s just about it. For all our Jewish readers, happy belated Rosh Hashanah; for all our Pagan readers, Blessed Mabon; and for everyone else, bust out those sweaters because it is finally going to be Fall!



  1. The funny part about the Koster ad is that “DelBene” is said (shouted, growled) about a dozen times. There’s a lot of research in cognitive psychology that shows that ads like this backfire. The constant repetition improves her name recognition, makes it more memorable, more acceptable and more positive. So, laugh … all the way to the ballot box.

  2. Ellen Baker is probably not so much covert as she is modest and shy. She is the relative voice of reason in the Whatcom tea party movement, and is often very open minded and willing to reconsider things based on additional information. Try talking to her sometime and you will see. I support Riley outing any political speaker, although there has been a long standing debate about the bellingham herald politics blog and the advantages of political anonymity in discourse.

    • She is very polite and straightforward – however I did repeatedly ask for a name since they have been posting some pretty aggressive stuff about local officials, and got only a pseudonym. Being shy is one thing, but hiding behind anonymity while you are blasting other agencies about transparency is just hypocritical.

      • There is no requirement that a blog be transparent. Their blog, their rules. Government on the other hand… that’s quite a different story.

        I have had many discussions with posters on Sam Taylor’s old blog at the Herald about posting with their real names. “Camille” in particular. She says it doesn’t matter. So, it doesn’t matter, Riley. Let it go. Camille said so.

      • There is no requirement that a blog be transparent . . . however if you are criticizing non-profits, municipalities and other groups for their lack of transparency and you are completely unwilling to sign your own name to what you are saying, I feel that is hypocritical.

  3. […] our friends from the community. Republican activist Greg Brown and his wife showed up, as well as Ellen Baker from the Whatcom Excavator. She contested that while she writes for the Excavator, she is not the […]

  4. […] several months ago, when blogger Riley Sweeney (who does claim authorship of his posts, by the way) claimed to have “outed” WE mastermind Ellen Baker. I talked to Baker, as I mentioned earlier, and she denied ownership of the blog, saying only that […]

  5. […] Already, Whatcom’s political milieu has arrived. Bellingham City Councilmembers Seth Fleetwood and Jack Weiss have arrived and are busy shaking hands (Fleetwood) or standing quietly in the corner (Weiss). Local businessman and Reconveyance proponent Rud Browne has arrived, along with Whatcom Excavator writers Greg Brown and Ellen Baker. […]

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